There is broad public acceptance that enforceable quarantine measures are required to keep other variants of Covid-19 out of the country, according to Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Murphy told the Taoiseach that the Government seems to be operating on the working assumption that international travel is low-risk.

She said:

“High profile non-compliance in relation to international travel is undermining broader compliance. There is a high degree of fear. People are not looking to punish other people – they are looking to be protected. That is why the focus is on international travel in relation to the other variants. There is a public understanding of those risks.

“The reality is that the UK and South African variants did not arrive into this country on a south-easterly – they came in on a flight or a boat. Other strains of the virus will arrive though these means too.

“Given that the UK variant is now the most dominant one in Ireland, where is the evidence that international travel is low-risk? Figures I recently received from the Minister for Health showed that 49% percent of passengers arriving into Ireland did not provide the authorities with an address, so where is the evidence of compliance?

“There’s an understandable desire by the public for the Government to keep the country as safe as possible. It is difficult to understand how changing quarantine requirements from advisory to mandatory can be enforced in homes.

“The starting point for the Government strategy seems to be what can’t be done, with a reliance on the default position of rolling lockdowns.”

January 27, 2021

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